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Creating Space, Expecting Harvest--"Why I Love Jesus" Pastor Tony

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Discussion Guide – CREATING SPACE, EXPECTING HARVEST…”Why I Love Jesus”—Pastor Tony

Questions by Pastor Ric
September 10, 2017 

This Fall will be crucial in engaging our church family both in heart and vision.  To do that, there will be six weeks in our church’s life, September 10 through Oct 15, that may be the most strategic season yet in the history of LEFC.  We will be communicating vision, engaging hearts, and approaching our God together in expectation of a “Harvest”.  One important and strategic step we want to ask of the congregation is to have all small groups, home groups, care groups, and Life Groups meet weekly for those six weeks and utilize a sermon based group discussion guide.  I recognize that is no small request, but I feel it is essential to our church’s future.  These six weeks are also an invitation for those who are not in a group to join one, so we will be offering opportunities for people to join a group. “  Pastor Tony

(Choose two or three questions that are best for your group and fit your timeframe.  I have limited the total number during this series.)

TEXTS:  2 CO 2:14-16; RO 10:14,15,17; HE 6:18-20; 2 CO 3:16-18; JN 10:10,11; PHL 1:21; 3:7-14; RE 2:1-7

  1. Telling our stories is always a great way to begin to develop community. If you want to discover someone’s passion, listen to their story. Instead of telling your entire story, allow group members to briefly summarize their journey to Jesus.  Especially include what or who attracted you to Him, how you’ve grown in Him, how you’ve struggled in your relationship with Christ.  Now, ask yourself how your present passion for Christ affects others.
  2. The Lancaster County work ethic remains alive and well. Who we are is defined by what we do. How easy it is for us to transfer this to our spiritual lives and forget that it is much better to truly love Christ by working for Him AND spending significant time with Him. Think Mary,  Martha and Jesus here…think prayer here…  When work (doing) dominates our life in Christ, we no longer hear God’s voice—the relationship becomes one way. Our culture affirms it.  How can we change this and become truly captivated by Christ?   In your Life Groups, take a look at how much time is spent in doing (study, discussion, etc.) v. being (application, spiritual disciplines, worship, prayer, mission,  ).  Reflect on your personal life, too.  (PHIL 3:7-14)
  3. RE 2:4 describes walking away from Jesus as “…a Lucifer fall.” (Message version)! Believing the enemy’s lies always negatively affects our love for Him as we walk away from His leadership in personal independence or   What are the lies (good or bad) you are believing about yourself?  What is the truth about who we are in Christ?   JN 8:32  How can we help each other?
  4. If I am not captivated by Christ anymore, how do I renew my love for Him once again? Do a 180.  Recover your “dear early love” (Message) according to RE 2:5.  Prayerfully allow His Spirit to speak to your heart about what, in your life, needs to go so you can become fully captivated by Christ again.  Try spending more time reading God’s love letters to you (Bible).  This should make for good conversation and loving accountability within your Life Group and help renew your love for Jesus.
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Discussion Guide--Relational Renewal, Pastor Tony

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Questions by Pastor Ric
August 27, 2017

Covenants are foundational to our understanding of God and His relationship with man. Relationships that are unhealthy and broken can seriously affect people and its cuture in very negative ways.  This study will remind us of exactly what a convenant is, why it is important in healthy relationships and how we can renew our commitment to them.

Feel free to use more or less of these questions.  They are here to move us from knowledge to obedience as God’s Spirit speaks to our hearts.  Share what God is doing in your heart as a result and have others you trust hold you to account for the life-change God is working in you.

TEXTS: MA 5:21-24; LU 11:4; MA 18:21-35; MICAH 7:18; HE 8:12; 1JN 4:11,12

  1. Discuss how broken relationships hinder our culture (“the leading factor in depression, anger and hopelessness”)? How does the enemy use broken relationships at all levels of ministry to hinder the church?  Why is it so important for the entire LEFC body to maintain healthy relationships?  Why are Life Groups so vital for maintaining healthy relationships within the church?
  2. Anger is not necessarily sinful. However, in Ephesians 4:21 there are specific instructions regarding how to handle our anger.  How does culture wage a war against this biblical perspective? How can we do a better job of handling our anger, not allowing the enemy to use it to his advantage?  (see also James 3:1-12)
  3. How do broken relationships hinder our personal worship? What is your regular pattern for preventing this?  How could regular prayer be a part of healing broken relationships?
  4. (MA 18:21-35) Forgiveness from the heart can be a challenge. The greater the offense, the more difficult it is to forgive.  Share some instances with your group (generally) about the challenges you’ve faced in forgiving others.  Because we are to forgive infinitely, it is a process—it can be a long process.  It normally does not happen in an instant.  Why is forgiveness such a key concept in healthy relationships?  How does not receiving a deserved apology affect our ability to forgive? How can we access the love required to accomplish biblical forgiveness? 
  5. How does harboring even “justified anger” affect our relationship with God?
  6. Trust levels are affected despite forgiveness. Creating safe boundaries within our relationships is the way of wisdom.  We are to live a life of love (1 JN 4:11,12) while maintaining healthy and forgiving relationships.  How does David’s prayer in PS 51 help us?  
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